I think treat training is cruel. - Page 33

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by joanro on 06 December 2018 - 10:12

Great post, Duke! Spot on!

by Gustav on 06 December 2018 - 13:12

What Duke wrote is factually correct and my experiences also. If you analyze what he wrote you would see that he is NOT saying that MT is wrong, or bad, or inefficient or anything like some of the emotional takes that are interpreted in this thread. He is saying that one of the UNINTENDED consequences of this type training is that weaker dogs are made to look stronger, than they really are......not that MT is for weak dogs. There are genetically strong dogs that do just as well with MT, because the training system is not predicated on the strength of the dog......but many breeders and the breed itself because of evolution of training has changed in terms of dogs resilience and character.
When I teach a dog sit, down, and fuss position without leash, and with food, I am using a form of MT. But once the dog understands the commands, I shift to a combination of other techniques, partially to ensure that the dog can handle the adversity/ hardness that I think should be associated with our breed. But that’s just me......


by 1Ruger1 on 06 December 2018 - 13:12

Gustav~ Well put👍🏼
Duke ~ I agree 👍🏼

by Rik on 06 December 2018 - 14:12

I have seen many examples of what I consider "cruel" training mehods over the years.

dogs, literally burned into the ground with electric collars.

the yank, flip, flank Koheler method.

other brutal methods that I won't even mention.

I have never seen a dog given treats to the point of "abuse".

admit I haven't seen everything yet.


by joanro on 06 December 2018 - 14:12

It's not just you, Gustav...I too only use the MT until they grasp the exerscise then I move to training, reenforecing compliance...yes it does test the resilience and character of the individual!

by Koots on 06 December 2018 - 14:12

Yes, interesting point that Duke brings up, which made me think about MT use for a strong dog (especially one who is on 2nd handler). If MT is used to shape behaviour in a non-conflict way, it could be a good approach when bonding/training a handler-hard dog that does not respond well to correction-type training methods.

by emoryg on 06 December 2018 - 15:12

Anytime training a puppy I started with food.  Never had to withhold food to get excellent response.   It is interesting to note that captive animals that were kept between 75-80% of their ideal body weight had the highest/strongest rate of response in conditioning a new behavior with food.  Guidelines were later published bringing the maximum weight deprivation to 15%.  There’s a beauty with any animal that has good food drive.  Young or mature green dogs were sometimes started on food, most of the time I used a toy.   I was never able to get away from the yank and had to resort to fear base conditioning to gain absolute control of the police dog. 


by 1Ruger1 on 06 December 2018 - 15:12

I’ll go out on a limb and say that the title for the thread was worded to get your attention!

Edit:  Amazing you figured that out as that is what a Title is supposed to do.

No different then many other threads that are titled to “get the most hits” Let’s face it, it worked because it’s a 30 plus page thread right now. Lol !

If I’m wrong Prager can correct me, but if you read the original post he says nothing about MT which is what this thread is largely about.

So how it was “allowed” to go off top just amazes me! That’s another topic😬

Edit:  Admin did not think it went off topic or we would have said something. Now why can't you follow the rules and that you know and have been told many times, instead of being snarky to the Admins in the forum instead of a PM.  The ice under your feet is very thin.

He was talking about “treat training” and when he uses the word cruel it’s in relationship to what he believes to be the cruel misuse of the relationship between dog and handler when treat training is over used, as well as the misuse of the dogs natural built in instincts in relationship to food motivators.

That’s what I heard when I read his original post ! That’s his opinion and frankly after re-reading the post a half dozen times it makes sense and if others might go back and re read what’s written we might not be 30 plus pages deep arguing about MT.

Prager said,

”The dog who is constantly rewarded with treats or toy play is `working for himself. Personally, that is not appealing to me. I want to get out of my relationship with my dog more then being Pez dispenser.”

Prager said,

“The dog who is rewarded with pat and higher than the normal pitch of the voice has no choice but to be working for you and with you or just plainly "being here " for you. He has no choice since there is no other option for reward.”

Prager said,

“ Now, consider the physiological consequence of not giving a reward when pup or dog expects it of worse is conditioned to get after the proper performance.” Prager said, “Now imagine, that people build a relationship with the pup or even older dog by "bribing " him with treats. Do you want to have this type of a relationship with your dog? A relationship where the dog is performing circus tricks for you so that they can stop or avoid horrible pangs which you have conditioned him to have in the first place, if he does not perform”.

Prager said,

“And what about the pup who got treats just because the owner came into the room and gives him the treat just because it behooves him. After doing this for some time we get the same effect. I came home - Insulin - ghrelin and hunger pangs and dog performing tricks like a castaway jumping up and down on a Pacific island in the sight of a ship.”

Prager said,

“The alternative or one of the enter natives, is the soothing, happy, higher than the normal pitch of the voice reward word and subsequent pet on the head( or elsewhere) all done in a steady rhythm and in a timely fashion. This then involves some other hormones, mainly oxytocin and endorphin. Very powerful and underestimated feel-good hormone. No hunger pangs. And on top of it, I always have a hand and voice and thus the dog works for me and with me and not for what is in my pocket.”

lastly Prager said,

“ Now I am not saying that you should not use treats at all. It is Ok and even good now and then. Just do not make dog expect it and be conditioned to get pangs or try to avoid them by performing tricks for you.


” Emory said,

“Good topic and feedback. When the food runs out, the ball goes flat and the battery dies on the e-collar, the dog who's greatest reward is to be by your side, will always be just that....by your side.

” Hundmutter said,

“it is perfectly possible to get a positive response with just tone of voice and caresses with even very young puppies. Your best advantage when a pup is very young is that 'invisible elastic' between you and the pup where they follow you anywhere; that does not come solely from your being the provider of their food. Indeed I have known it where I was NOT the primary food-bearer.”

Valk said,

“GSDs used to be bred very selective for particular traits. one of them - willingness/urge to be always near the master and cooperate, whatever task is. that is reward by itself.”

Koots said,

“My dog's best treat/reward 'toy' is my hand(s). Since he naturally gravitated towards playing with my hands since being a pup, I have used that as a reward to reinforce training (this is after teaching him with other motivators/reinforcers like food). It is a reward that is always there, and easily manipulated for different levels of feedback needed from a light pat to full-blown 'tag' game. Combined with voice praise, it is an effective feedback method for MY dog, who has a strong bond with me and wants to work WITH me.”

Gustav said,

“I trained dogs in Army, ( Scout, Sentry, Tracker,Narcotic contraband, Mine and tunnel in early seventies) before the advent of predominant treat training or food reward....and to say that these dogs weren’t trained to a very high level of competence far beyond pet training is speaking from a lack of knowledge. I have titled a dog personally ( Sch/IPO) in 1980 and in early 2000. I used entirely different methodologies in attaining the same title. I’m not knocking using food as a reward, for it is obviously effective, but to hear that other methods( praise, bond, correction, without food) is limited, is spoken by folks who probably have only trained a dog one way, or not at all, and thus speak of the other way from a lack of knowledge or more importantly experience.”







by 1Ruger1 on 06 December 2018 - 16:12

I could have quoted more but I was afraid I would lose my audience lol ,,

The whole point in posting my lengthy post was to show that the motive for the original post was to discuss “treat based training” not MT,,,

Edit: What makes you think you figured out the motive of the thread. There are others who have a different idea.

Most people understood this by evidence of the quotes I posted and others that I didn’t. It could have been an even better thread if we could have stayed on topic, but it happens sometimes.

Edit: Why if you think it went off topic did you joined in the with your off topic comments, why did you not stay on topic. Again if you think there is a problem follow the rules and PM us do not may snarky comments in the threads to us.

Honestly the original post was very interesting and shed some light on a few things I’d hadn’t considered before. 
I really do encourage others to go back and re-read the original posts and those posts by the other members that understood the topic.

It was a very good read about “treat training” ,,, and some thought provoking ideas and opinions about its affects on our dogs and their training  ,,,😊

by apple on 06 December 2018 - 17:12

The post is more about Prager presenting himself as an iconoclast. When using food, the handler is not a Pez dispenser and, as said previously, there are many other aspects to building your relationship with your dog. Also, no one advocating the use of food said anything about not including petting or praise. As I have said numerous times, whether the dog is working for himself or the handler can only be an opinion and not objectively determined. Bribing has nothing to do with reinforcement. A bribe comes before a behavior is displayed and a reinforcer comes after the behavior is displayed. You don't condition a dog to have hunger pangs by using food. The result is not circus tricks if the behaviors are basic behaviors such as sit, down, heel, come, etc.

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